Goal 4: Support the development and diversification of the public transit systems

Make Paratransit Rules the Floor, not the Ceiling

Most people who are blind or have low vision depend on paratransit, human services transportation, or volunteer driver programs at some point. The Department should invest significant attention to making paratransit effective, convenient, and consistent and promote Section 5310 services. The DOT has a role to play in making paratransit services more effective for the riders who depend on them, including by encouraging agencies to make the regulations act as the floor rather than the ceiling when conducting transit and paratransit planning.

Equity is another key consideration for transit services. The Department should expand its investment in access equity that prioritizes the input of people with disabilities. Moreover, expanded attention to tribal lands transportation and action to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act will benefit people who are both blind and members of those communities.

The Coronavirus pandemic offers a unique opportunity to evaluate how well transit and transit vehicles serve people who are blind. As ridership falls, the people continuing to use transit are more likely to be people without access to a car. Thus, as recovery continues over the next few years, we urge DOT to report on the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities, including people who are blind, and to develop future policies and investments that support the people who are most reliant on transit and paratransit services. Among those considerations are ensuring that local budget cuts do not restrict access to paratransit and other transportation services.

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Idea No. 365